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Posted: 26 February 2009 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgjyhKN_35g

What does this say about the need for religion to support concepts of ethics and morality?
What does it say about the idea that ethics are a human invention?

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Posted: 26 February 2009 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Nobility demonstrated by behavior.

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 26 February 2009 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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The whole idea that animals are lesser and inferior has caused so many problems in our society.  In the religous community, animals have no souls, so not only can you treat them atrociously, but if you can put a group or race or gender in the category of being merely animals, you can justify all sorts of brutality and oppression also. 

Some scientists share the same view of animals, that they are brutish and have no ethics or morality, so if human beings are just another animal, you can justify brutish and violent acts of humans towards other humans.

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Posted: 26 February 2009 04:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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It’s noted that under some conditions some reptiles will eat their young…..possibly just a case of poor short term memory. wink

Anyway, not true of warm blooded mammals. Certainly kin selection is in effect. I think it goes further though. We are all connected on the tree of life. How can it be said that other creatures can have a physiology that supports emotion yet not experience emotion or have empathy for others, even across species?

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Posted: 28 February 2009 08:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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selinakyle - 26 February 2009 07:21 PM

The whole idea that animals are lesser and inferior has caused so many problems in our society.  In the religous community, animals have no souls, so not only can you treat them atrociously, but if you can put a group or race or gender in the category of being merely animals, you can justify all sorts of brutality and oppression also. 

Some scientists share the same view of animals, that they are brutish and have no ethics or morality, so if human beings are just another animal, you can justify brutish and violent acts of humans towards other humans.


I don’t think the belief animals have no soul is a particularly religious belief.  I would say it is prevalent in secular society as well, as you have suggested with your statement about scientists.

The “animals have no soul” rationalization gives humans credence to use them as property and objects for material gain. A similar argument toward people of color and the justification for slavery used in the past was once prevalent.

Whether animals have souls or not is actually irrelevant.  No one knows if humans have souls either. It is only an assumption and belief that makes humans feel superior over other animals. What we all have, instead, is sentience.  The ability to feel pain and awareness, and is much more measurable.  Thus, sentience holds a higher standard to ethics towards animals than any religious belief about them ever has.

Not surprisingly, the Bible has a lot of contradictions about animals. In the beginning god made us all vegetarians. Well that didn’t last long.  As typical,  theologians and Christians pick and choose the parts of the Bible to accentuate and hold close to their hearts.  Those choices tend to work against any benefit to animals.  If we all followed certain beliefs about animals in the Bible that do not encourage the “dominion” beliefs about our relationship to them, we would not have a history of treating them as atrociously as you pointed out.  Likewise, if we all followed Jesus’ beliefs about peace and social justice, our treatment towards humans would have vastly improved as well.

But I’m not a bible thumper so I’m not arguing for an increase in bible reading.  My point is that religion and the bible in particular are so arbitrary and contradictory that you can justify just about anything if you look hard enough.

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Posted: 28 February 2009 08:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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eucaryote - 26 February 2009 09:05 PM

It’s noted that under some conditions some reptiles will eat their young…..possibly just a case of poor short term memory. wink

Anyway, not true of warm blooded mammals. Certainly kin selection is in effect. I think it goes further though. We are all connected on the tree of life. How can it be said that other creatures can have a physiology that supports emotion yet not experience emotion or have empathy for others, even across species?

I worked in a biology lab in college where they did experiments on rats. My job was to clean their cages each day and give them food and water. On any typical day I would arrive to find a mother rat who had eaten her babies. It’s not an anomaly for mammals to kill/eat their young.  But I think it happens in extremely stressful situations.  For example, in unnatural settings like research labs, where animals are confined to crowded and stressful conditions or in natural settings with population explosions and scarcity of resources.

There are also male animals that kill their young. Usually it is to generate an estrus cycle in the female so he can mate with her. 

But I agree with your last question.  Certainly we and our animal cousins have the capacity for empathy and compassion. Whether an individual animal or human will act on it is much harder to know. But clearly mammals (and some birds) are very complex and complicated creatures, resulting in complex and complicated behaviors. Really, not much different from us.

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Posted: 01 March 2009 03:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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selinakyle - 26 February 2009 07:21 PM

In the religous community, animals have no souls…

(Andrew):  Maybe in some religious communties. Ask a Hindu.  Or a Jew:

The Preacher - 26 February 2009 07:21 PM

For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. 
All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.—Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

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Posted: 03 March 2009 03:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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eucaryote - 26 February 2009 04:31 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgjyhKN_35g

What does this say about the need for religion to support concepts of ethics and morality?
What does it say about the idea that ethics are a human invention?

For those who prefer to see the news report in english: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofpYRITtLSg&feature=related

I had those same exact questions euc., when I saw this story on the news a while back. Seems to me that morality has nothing to do with religion or spirituality… it has to do with empathy.

I think the dog’s actions show that empathy/compassion is a potential mammalian quality; a genetically encoded predisposition that may or may not express itself. It’s not ethics per se, for that is a “human invention”... it’s merely an example of pure mammalian compassion without language or hope of reward… empathy pure and simple.

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Posted: 03 March 2009 05:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Human morality has invented smoking cat.

I wonder if the cat had the munchies.

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Real honesty is accepting the theories that best explain the actual data even if those explanations contradict our cherished beliefs.-Scotty

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Posted: 03 March 2009 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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isocratic infidel - 03 March 2009 08:28 AM
eucaryote - 26 February 2009 04:31 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgjyhKN_35g

What does this say about the need for religion to support concepts of ethics and morality?
What does it say about the idea that ethics are a human invention?

For those who prefer to see the news report in english: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofpYRITtLSg&feature=related

I had those same exact questions euc., when I saw this story on the news a while back. Seems to me that morality has nothing to do with religion or spirituality… it has to do with empathy.

I think the dog’s actions show that empathy/compassion is a potential mammalian quality; a genetically encoded predisposition that may or may not express itself. It’s not ethics per se, for that is a “human invention”... it’s merely an example of pure mammalian compassion without language or hope of reward… empathy pure and simple.

I understand that there is such a thing as mirror neurons that fire in sympathy with our witnessing even simple actions by others.

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The ants are my friends, they’re blowing in the wind, the ants are blowing in the wind.

Dog is my co-pilot

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Posted: 04 March 2009 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Hay, that’s a Chilean dog, I’m proud to say.

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